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NFL players will be ejected after 2 unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in 2016

Taunting, punches and abusive language will be watched more closely in 2016.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL cracked down on unsportsmanlike conduct at the owners meetings, passing a rule change that will eject players who commit two violations on a one-year trial basis.

Multiple unsportsmanlike conduct penalties are rare, so the rule change likely won't mean a spike in player disqualifications, but it would've made an impact on a few games in 2015. Specifically, Odell Beckham Jr. and Josh Norman racked up penalties in a late-season matchup, and even the threat of an imminent ejection for either player could have defused the situation.

The rule change states that players will be ejected for two violations of the following penalties in a game:

(a) Throwing a punch, or a forearm, or kicking at an opponent, even though no contact is made.
(b) Using abusive, threatening, or insulting language or gestures to opponents, teammates, officials, or representatives of the League.
(c) Using baiting or taunting acts or words that engender ill will between teams.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell personally made an appeal for ejections for players with two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties at his "state of the NFL" address in February, just before Super Bowl 50. College football players are already subject to automatic ejections for multiple unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and are immediately ejected for any "targeting" violation.

The rule change is one of nine approved by the league for the coming season, including an expansion of the horse collar rule. The NFL will also move touchbacks to the 25-yard line as an experiment for the 2016 season.